The 3 Levels of Athlete Ability (and How to Coach Them)

Tom Kelso
Strength and Conditioning

Like many of you, I've observed and trained thousands of people over many years in college weight rooms, local gyms, boot camp environments, and in track and field. There are so many of these trainees, yet each could be placed in a category relative to his or her abilities.


In my experience it all boils down to three types of trainees:


Level 1: The True Beginner

These are well-intended people who are at square one. They have no clue as to the distinction between a barbell and a dumbbell, what “a set of twelve” means, and what to eat relative to fat loss or muscle gain. They have never performed a proper sit up, bodyweight squat, or push up.


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